With the start of the new year, there are numerous regulatory updates that motor carriers should be watching and taking action on. Here is a high-level overview of the changes that will affect motor carriers.
Electronic Logging Device (ELD)
The ELD rule will become law in December 2017. If a motor carrier has not begun the process of implementing ELDs in its trucks, then it should do so immediately. Vendors are warning that motor carriers should not wait until the last minute to get started on this due to high demand for equipment, limited supplies, and the need to allow time for implementation and testing.
Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA)
There have been concerns with CSA’s ability to accurately predict crash risk for individual motor carriers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is proposing to use data from two CSA BASICs to determine a motor carrier’s safety fitness determination on a monthly basis, so motor carriers need to be watching this issue closely in 2017.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that can result in excessive daytime sleepiness and an elevated crash risk. This issue has had some controversy regarding the possible thresholds for a driver’s body mass index (BMI), neck size, appropriate screening, etc. Last summer, FMCSA’s Medical Review Board met to review their recommendations. Watch for a proposed rulemaking expected to be issued by FMCSA later this year.
Heavy Vehicle Speed Limiters
The proposed rulemaking developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the FMCSA would require vehicles with a GVWR of more than 26,000 pounds have a speed limiting device installed. The proposal had a two-month comment period that ended in November 2016, looking for responses for hard-wired top speeds of 60, 65, and 68 mph. This proposal calls for commercial vehicles manufactured on or after September 2020, to have speed limiters.
Entry-Level Driver Training
In 2016, the FMCSA issued a new notice of proposed rulemaking seeking to require all drivers take special training through a certified training provider if he/she needs to pass a skills test to obtain a CDL. The training would consist of both classroom and behind the wheel instruction and would be required before drivers are allowed to take their CDL skills test. The proposal also seeks to establish a registry of certified training providers who would be responsible for submitting completion certificates to state licensing agencies. A final rule is expected around the time of this publication.
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